The UC Santa Barbara women’s volleyball team has shown resilience this season following a string of losses. Although they didn’t do well in the Thunderdome Classic, they rebounded opening up league play with two victories.
The first game of the Thunderdome Classic was one to forget for the Gauchos as they were routed from the start against the Washington State Cougars. Throughout the 0-3 loss, the Gauchos made far too many errors, ultimately leading to their loss.
Game two of the Thunderdome Classic against Virginia Commonwealth University was another game where errors led to UCSB’s main problems. Although the Gauchos lost the first set against VCU, they were able to make up for their errors by gaining more kills than VCU. So, the Gauchos reverse swept the Rams, leading to a 3-1 victory.
In the rematch versus Washington State, the Gauchos fell behind early to the Cougars due to a less superior kill percentage. In the third set, the Gauchos played a near-flawless set, making no errors while having 14 kills, en route to a 25-9 third set victory. In the end, the Gauchos lost the fourth set narrowly 21-25, due to the Cougars converting more of their chances.
On the other hand, the Gauchos responded with this loss with a commanding 3-1 victory versus the UC San Diego Tritons. The Gauchos had to rally from an opening first set loss. In the reverse sweep of the Tritons, outside hitter Abrielle Bross and middle blocker Deni Wilson led the charge with the highest kill percentages and most kills in the match. The Gauchos ended the match with 10 more kills than the Anteaters with 59 total kills and 17 errors which were 6 less than the Anteater’s 23 errors.
The second match of league play against the UC Irvine Anteaters was one of the most impressive wins of the young season. The Anteaters had started off the season 8-4 with an opening league win. This makes the Gauchos performance that much more impressive, as they swept them in three straight sets. This was attributed to the Gauchos great blocking and defense as they only allowed Irvine to get 26 kills as opposed to their 50 kills. Right side hitter Tallulah Froley was the standout performer in this match, having a .478 attack percentage, along with a team-high 14 kills.
The Gauchos will be moving into conference play 2-0 and taking on rivals Cal Poly San Luis Obispo at their home stadium. Cal Poly comes into this game at a 4-9 overall record, but like the Gauchos, are on a hot streak, taking their first two conference games against Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State. The Gauchos will be looking to stay away from the unforced errors and staying hot in conference play and to open up October on the right foot this Friday.
A version of this article appeared on p. X of the Sept. 30, 2021 print edition of the Daily Nexus.